Russia sanctions will survive Trump presidency, says anti-Putin crusader

The following has not yet been verified. Please improve it by logging in and editing it. If you believe that is not sufficient to solve the problem, please discuss it with the community on the Talk Page. If you think that this article should be removed, please contact [email protected]
  1. "Whether there's any truth about collusion or not, [Trump] can't add to the narrative"

Bill Browder. Photo by: WikiTribune/Francis Augusto. Used under Creative Commons license 4.0

The businessman behind a sweeping set of U.S. sanctions against Russian officials says that there is little chance the act could be repealed by President Trump’s administration.

The sanctions, known as the Magnitsky Act, gained renewed media attention earlier this year when President Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., revealed that they were the subject of a meeting he, his brother-in-law Jared Kushner, and Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort had with a Kremlin-linked lawyer in June 2016.

Bill Browder, CEO of investment fund Hermitage Capital Management, told WikiTribune, “In order for the Magnitsky Act to go away, it would require an act of Congress to repeal it, which is not gonna happen.”

“While [Trump’s] statements are highly offensive, in my opinion, about Vladimir Putin,” says Browder “his administration is staffed and headed by people who are all extremely robust towards Russia.”

“Nothing has happened that makes me feel like Russia has gotten away with anything yet,” continued Browder.

The Magnitsky Act was signed by President Barack Obama in 2012 and places asset freezes and travel restrictions on 44 Russians who Browder and investigators have linked to human rights abuses allegedly committed on behalf of the Kremlin.

On October 30, Manafort submitted himself to questioning from the U.S. Justice Department, after special counsel Robert Mueller indicted him as part of his wide-ranging probe into alleged links between the Trump campaign and Russian government. The indictment concerned allegations of tax avoidance, not collusion with the Russian government.

Browder, who lobbied the U.S. government to adopt the Magnitsky Act, argues that speculation over the Trump campaign’s links with Russia, actually protects the Magnistky Act. “Whether there’s any truth about collusion or not, [Trump] can’t add to the narrative by doing anything that would be seen to be giving anything away to Russia right now.”

Browder thinks that the Trump administration might fail to enforce the sanctions. “There is a possibility that the Trump administration doesn’t enforce the Magnitsky Act while Trump is president,” he said, referring to a report in Foreign Policy  magazine, which said that the State Department is closing its office responsible for enforcing sanctions.

“I don’t know how [the Magnitsky Act is] gonna work going forward, [or] if it’s gonna work going forward in the United States,” he added.

The act is named after Sergei Magnitsky, Browder’s former lawyer, who uncovered a $230 million fraud, perpetrated by people with links to the Kremlin in 2008. Russian security forces arrested Magnitsky and he died in custody in Moscow, where it is suspected he was tortured and denied medical treatment.

The Russian government has repeatedly lobbied Interpol to place a “red notice” on Browder, on various charges. The latest effort, which occurred less than two weeks ago, included an attempt to turn the tables on Browder, by alleging that he conspired to murder Magnitsky, according to the New York Times. Interpol rejected the request, saying that it was politically motivated.

Earlier this month, Canada passed its own version of the Magnitsky Act. The law will allow for the freezing of assets and visa bans on officials from Russia and other nations considered to be in violation of human rights.

Browder was speaking to WikiTribune for a Q&A that will be published in full soon.

  • TODO tags

      Is there a problem with this article? [Join] today to let people know and help build the news.
      • Share

      Subscribe to our newsletter

      Be the first to collaborate on our developing articles

      WikiTribune Open menu Close Search Like Back Next Open menu Close menu Play video RSS Feed Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Reddit Follow us on Instagram Follow us on Youtube Connect with us on Linkedin Connect with us on Discord Email us